Dear Point and Shoot Camera Manufacturers,
If you do not get with the times, in one year you will be out of business. Ever since I purchased a smart phone that had a decent camera (and video camera), my point-and-shoot camera has sat on the shelf gathering dust. Why am I going to fumble around with another device, when I can instantly upload and share the pictures and video I capture with my smart phone? My phone is always connected to the internet where I can instantly email or post my pictures to my social networks.
You expect me to plug my camera into my computer, draaaag them over to the right folders, THEN share them to my networks? I don’t think so. I barely plug in my iPhone once every few months.
And I’m not alone. This Christmas I didn’t see one point-and-shoot camera, only cell phones and digital SLRs. And we’re not just talking about my tech savvy brothers and sisters, we’re talking about MY PARENTS as well. When my parents have adopted a technology trend, you know it has gone mainstream.
If you need more proof, look at the number of photos being uploaded to Flickr, and what camera they were taken with:
Every single point-and-shoot camera is in steep decline. What is the most popular camera on Flickr? That would be the iPhone 3G, not a camera at all but a cell phone.
There is a solution. If my camera were as connected as my phone, I would consider pulling it out of the bag in the name of a better photo. You have to beat the phone at its own game. Being an Electrical Engineer by education, I decided to dive a little deeper and see how hard it would be, and how much it would cost to add wireless connectivity to my camera.
The first concern was size: if adding wireless connectivity was going to double the size of the camera, then obviously this would be a deal killer. It didn’t take me long to find a wireless adapter (an N version, the fastest there is) that is 1/2 inch tall and 1/4 inch wide, about the size of a pencil eraser. Surely size isn’t the problem here.
Then what about cost? I could easily find small wireless adapters that could be purchased for $20, and probably much less at the volumes that camera manufacturers would order. I know I would pay $20 extra to have a connected camera.
What about software? It would be a pain to type in your wireless network password and your email address and password using the camera arrow keys, but since I only had to do it once, I would manage. After that, you would just need software to support Facebook and the top 5 email clients (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, and MobileMe). Remember, these are personal devices so no corporate Exchange client support would be required.
So there you have it camera manufacturers. For $20 and 1/2″ of board space you can at least prolong your industry. But you better hurry, I’m getting pretty accustomed to pulling out this cell phone, and like most consumers I’m not going to buy the first thing available on store shelves.